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Last updated 7:44PM ET
April 22, 2021
APR News Reports
APR News Reports
Four Killed In Alabama By Early Morning Storms
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Damage assessment crews are hard at work this afternoon (2/6) following a wave of deadly severe weather across Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee. Alabama Public Radio's Brett Tannehill reports ...


The damage estimates are still coming in from this morning's storms, but the early totals don't look good.
At least four people died in Alabama and dozens more injured. More than 500 homes and buildings were damaged or destroyed statewide. One of the worst hit areas was Aldridge Grove, where a teenager and his parents died after their home was struck by powerful winds. Moulton Fire Chief Ryan Jolly says that home was one of several in the rural community that was hit.

(JOLLY1-Some were mobile homes. Some were actual built homes. A good majority of them are not there any more. It's devastation. That's how you could describe it ... We going to be out there making sure no one is still under the rubble. The rest is going to be debris removal.)

And there's plenty of debris removal to be completed across Lawrence County. County EMA deputy director Brenda Morgan says there was enough widespread damage to cause schools to close at least for the day.

(MORGAN-A lot of that was due to debris on the road, power lines and trees being down and some roads being unpassable. It's just been overwhelming getting everything back to normal as much as possible)

Meanwhile, there was also damage in other areas. National Weather Service meteorologist John DeBlock (Dee-Block) ...

(DEBLOCK-On the Fayette County line, we had a number of structures that were damaged. There was a gas station with the roof torn off. Fortunately, most of the tornadoes we had last night were in rural areas, so there were hundreds of trees snapped down or sheared off.)

In Walker County, 8 homes were damaged or destroyed near Corona. State EMA director Brock Long says Jackson County also took a heavy blow.

(LONG-Right now in Jackson County, there was one confirmed death unfortunately. We have a number of homes destroyed. About 15-16 homes have been destroyed, and around 8 sustained some major damage.)

This morning's storms exposed the vulnerability of residents living in rural areas. Aldridge Grove is a rural community and had no tornado sirens to provide warning. Also, DeBlock says radio, cell phone and television signals sometimes can't reach these remote locations.

(DEBLOCK-Radio signals from a NOAA weather radio might have a hard time getting to some folks ... TV coverage, the whole nine yards, a lot of these rural location don't have cable. Depending on satellite, and of course, if the storm is overhead, they could lose coverage and not have any idea of what's going on.)

Another problem posed by this morning's storms is they struck while many people were sleeping and unlikely to hear a siren or other warning. It's times like these that being prepared and pre-alerted to potential danger are the best defenses.
State EMA director Long says residents should use wind mitigation techniques to make their homes more secure.

(LONG-How are they protecting windows and doors, garage doors if they have them. How are they reinforcing those areas because typically windows, doors and garages are the first to be breached by high winds. And also making sure they have a plan.)

At least three confirmed tornados touched down in Alabama ... a number that is likely to rise as damage assessments continue. A regional total of at least 35 tornados are thought to have raked Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee this morning, killing more than 50 people and injuring hundreds of others.

For APR News, I'm Brett Tannehill
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